Waisai, Raja Ampat, West Papua – Day 2

Another stinking hot day in paradise! The days start off beautifully cool but by 7:30am, my palms are damp and sweat is pouring off me. It is usually about now I have the first of many mandi’s!
Yesterday we headed off about 9am to the local high school (SMP). The Bapak at my homestay works there and was really happy for Ichal and I to go and spend some time in the English Classroom. Once all the students had been rounded up, we began our impromptu lesson. Ichal introduced me and then handed over to me, with the familiar phrase, “The time is yours!” Is it a direct translation from Indonesian? I must ask Ichal! I talked briefly about topics that have interested students in other schools as when I asked if there were any questions, there was deathly silence!

20131020-135114.jpg As you can see the rooms were very bare with just desks and chairs. Topics I spoke about included learning Indonesian in Australia (compulsory for primary and secondary students to learn a foreign language in Australia until year 9 ), the weather, counting to twenty, pronunciation and body parts. For pronunciation, we revised the numbers 12 & 15, which are 2 numbers commonly mispronounced in Indonesia however the students in this class largely had no problems. However they did have problems saying ‘three’ correctly. I explained that ‘tree’ is a ‘pohon’ and has a totally different meaning to ‘3’. I also reinforced how to correctly mouth the ‘th’ sound which is a totally foreign sound blend for Indonesians. I made them put their tongue between their teeth which as always has students laughing their heads off with the ridiculousness of this blend! I also explained the difference between ‘then’ and ‘den’ which is how Indonesians tend to enunciate ‘then’. We next revised body parts (bagian tubuh) and then played simon says twice with the winners each getting a koala keyring (Thanks Marg!)

20131020-135959.jpgOne of the winners with Ichal.
Ichal then entertained us with firstly some funny stories. He impressed on the students how important it is to practice speaking English with native speakers and to not worry about making mistakes! He told us all how when he was first learning Indonesian, he would say,”I speak English a little little.” I have heard Indonesians say this quite a bit now, so Ichal is certainly not the only one to make this direct translation. A ‘tiny little bit’ in Indonesian is ‘sedikit sedikit’!

20131020-141849.jpgI think we all have funny stories to tell and it was great of Ichal to share some of his. He also revised pronouciation and discussed the difference between ‘very’ and ‘ferry’. “v” & “f” are often interchangeable in Indonesian however in English, there is a huge difference between ‘very’ and ‘ferry’! He then put the following sentence on the board and offered Rp5,000 to the first student who could correctly translate it: She can can the fish. Most thought it meant she can catch fish, so they almost got it! No one went home Rp5,000 richer!


Ichal finished up with outlining several exciting opportunities which are available to those who learn English. Hopefully if nothing else, they are motivated by the international student exchange programs and the opportunity to make friends from all over the world.
After class photos and thanking the teachers for lending us their class, we headed off to get some lunch. We first stopped at a warung for something cold because it was midday and so, so, so hot even though I was using an umbrella, feeling like a colonialist! Ichal suggested ‘es pisang hijau’ and all I heard was the word ‘es’ so I jumped at the idea. However once she started preparing it, I wondered what on earth I had agreed to. Here it is:

20131020-141337.jpgIt is a green pancake but instead of a sugar/coconut filling, it was a very starchy banana. This was topped with coconut cream and red syrup (I passed on the red syrup) and ice! I was amazed to discover that it was absolutely delicious! Very filling and very refreshing. We then headed off to our usual warung for lunch and I struggled to finish my nasi and delcious grated papaya and tempeh in coconut milk!

We headed home afterwards for a nap, but instead I finished a book I am reading on my kindle!! About 3pm we headed out again with bathers and snorkling gear to investigate the home stay Vaas has been telling us about. We walked through the festival grounds to see what was happening and there were several groups kitted up for a dance competition. I would have loved to have stayed and watched but I was also really keen to try some snorkeling and knew that if we stayed to watch, it could have taken hours before they actually got up on the stage (jam karet/ rubber time), so I took a few photos hoping that I would get a chance later in the festival to see the winners perfrom!

We then met Ega & Vaas at the Pangkalan Ojek (motorbike taxi area) where they had both parked their bikes. The ride to the homestay was much longer than I thought it would be. It was about 14 km away and on the back of a motorbike, it felt like 114km! The road was thankfully largely sealed but it was up and down steep hills, following the coastline. I would have liked to have been able to appreciate the scenery but I was holding on for dear life with all the corners and steep hills. It was with great relief we reached the homestay and I could stretch my back and legs again! We all quickly changed into our bathers and rushed into the water. Unfortunately the tide was high with a slight swell so the visibility while good, wasn’t crystal clear. The water temperature though was absolutely gorgeous and it was so lovely to get out wet and feel cold again. I fell in love with the homestay as did Ichal so we are hoping we can go out and stay a night after the festival has finished.

20131020-143222.jpgIt costs Rp300,000 a night and that includes 3 meals!

20131020-143305.jpgThe view from the waters edge. Here is the dining room which would be perfect for blogging!

As Vaas had to return his motorbike, I got a lift back to town early with him to save Ega doing multiple trips out to the homestay and back which turned out to be a blessing because on the final leg with Ichal, the bike broke down and had to be pushed up the steep hills! I walked into our home stay to discover that the whole family was outside chatting enjoying kelapa mudah. I was invited to join them but I discovered that not only did they put milk in it, but there also looked to be what suspiciously looked like grated cheese in it. Being lactose intolerant, I regretfully declined so Bapak kindly opened another coconut for me and I enjoyed it just the way I love it best; straight out of the shell. Once I had finished the liquid, it was opened and I enjoyed the meat as well. A beautiful snack before my mandi and then collapsing exhausted into bed!


11 thoughts on “Waisai, Raja Ampat, West Papua – Day 2

  1. The heat can be soooo enervating…..were there any fish to see? And of course the sea would have been churned up because of bulan pernama…..oh that papaya an tempe just looked so delicious!!!!!!! : ))

    • Thanks for your comment Trees! I forgot to mention the beautiful full moon in my blog.It was one of the things I was trying unsuccessfully to appreciate while going up and down dell on the motorbike. Forgot about the effect it has on the tide, silly me!

      • As usual, no I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Jakarta has been the only place so far where the passenger also must wear a helmet by law. Everywhere else the focus is just on the ‘driver’. We hired 2 ojeks on in Sorong that night and Ichal asked both ojek drivers to go one one of the bikes and we took the other. Both times he asked the ojek fellow for his helmet and one of the helmets was so ridiculously small it could barely be called a helmet. The style was like the hats the bomb shelter wardens wore in England in WW2 however Ichals was so small it barely rested on his head. How it stayed on while we drove along I have no idea!

  2. As usual abeautiful and quite evocative piece of writing by you! I read it to Metut who also enjoyed sharing your experiences. Although I truly envy what you are doing, each time you mention the heat I know I would be constantly whining! !! You are much better without your dear old dad!!!! Can’t wait for the next installment. …

    • The humidity is so thick you could slice it with a knife most of the time. It makes me receive every whiff of breeze so gratefully. I have edited the blog slightly as I have only just remembered to ask Ichal what the name of that pancake dessert was that we both enjoyed. Has Dadong heard of es pisang hijau?

      • I will ask her another time coz she is sleeping now…
        Just keep talking about the humidity with never a mention of air conditioning and you can be sure I won’t suddenly turn up on your doorstep! !! 🙂

  3. Never heard or had es pisang hijau! And very uncharacteristic for Indonesians to enjoy their coconuts with cheese? Must be a newfangled thing. I’m so behind!

    Really enjoyed the part with Ichal and the students learning English! Sounds like they had a lot of fun! 🙂

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